One of the biggest questions we faced when talking with people about what we wanted to do and why we wanted to look at assisted and supported living solutions, was how do we balance enabling people to provide support with the supported person’s desire for privacy.
As we live longer lives and modern medicine can enable us to live independently, we have the chance to live in our own location for longer. The downside to this, is we often face increased costs and the need for a certain level of support to be provided that can be intrusive, costly and ugly.
What we found was that people really had 4 concerns:
This revolved around being treated as an adult. The need for support and help was needed but it shouldn’t be intrusive and it shouldn’t be done in such a way as to make the person concerned feel undignified.
Again, while acknowledging the need for support, people also want to feel like they are not being watched all the time. The other concern was that they didn’t want everyone to know they required the support, so any technology needed to be discrete, stylish and consumer looking rather than blocky, white, medical looking.
This really rolled in with the Privacy concerns but again the feeling was, just because I need support why should I settle for ugly, practical and obvious kit.
This was a recurring concern, with many people living on a limited monthly budget it is hard to justify high monthly fee’s and so finding a financial model that works is critical. Often it is easier to spend a capital amount up front and have little monthly fee’s, so that the limited annual income is not reduced further.
Because of these conversations, we realised that we could address much of the concerns within our nifty philosophy. The simplest one to address was the aesthetics concern. Outside of a few specialist items, nearly everything that someone might need to help them live an independent life for longer is available from consumer orientated companies.
Camera’s no longer have to look like a CCTV security item. Touch pad controls and z wave technology enable lights to come on and off as needed, nor do those lights have to look like a medical product. We can add gas control systems, integrate fall alarms and many others, all while making it look discrete.
The cost concern is a trickier one but by looking for non-specialist items (door locks, camera’s, sensors and others) we do not need to purchase these from traditional, proprietary vendors. As a result much of the services that people need to remain independent can be delivered more cheaply.
Dignity, this was very much the overwhelming concern and here we start with one advantage over your traditional, proprietary products. Consumer products are by their nature designed to look good and to blend in with your life. So straight away, we can use products that will not scream ‘medical support’ to anyone visiting. The second part of this conversation involved talking both with those who are going to live with the system and those who provide the support or are concerned. This needs to be open and frank, the nifty solution is capable of blending in, it is capable of giving those concerned the peace of mind that their loved one is supported without intruding but both sides need to agree on what it is that is needed and what is acceptable.
And then after this conversation, we install the Nifty backbone enabling the system to go in and to expand as requirements change. We place the power and the control of what is done firmly in the hands of those concerned, we enable our customers to do what they want when they want. It’s about having a nifty life….
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